TUC 2010 Moments – Aaron’s Angle (ii)

Our roaming correspondent and preview specialist, Aaron Wong, takes us along wherever he goes and we see what he sees. This is the second in a series of short pieces. […]
aaronOur roaming correspondent and preview specialist, Aaron Wong, takes us along wherever he goes and we see what he sees.

This is the second in a series of short pieces. On this occasion Aaron takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the importance of attire, grooming, and wonders how much we are slaves, victims or understand badminton fashion.

Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Fashion in badminton has come to the forefront. Looking cool is more the point than ever before. What bigger event than the (TUC) for the big racquet brands to model their new season’s line. Walking through the foyer of the Putra Stadium, clothes are definitely selling in excess of racquets and accessories at the Yonex, Victor and Li Ning booths.

Giorgio Armani’s, the influential and famed Italian suitmaker/couturier, philosophy is that clothes serve a health purpose. His attitude transcends mere fashion but rather that good quality clothes ought to fit nicely, be cut properly, and ultimately make one feel good about oneself. In turn, enhancing self esteem and confidence, not to mention keeping ailments at bay — like apples for doctors in a way.

Badminton fashion takes itself seriously now and employs Armani’s philosophy whether aware of it or not.  Skirts for girls have shown up since the millenium, and the men’s line of clothing are now distinct from the women’s. Gone are the days when pint-sized world #1 women’s singles Gong Zhichao of China was seen wearing a T-shirt in a size probably meant for 6’4″ tall former world #1 men’s doubles specialist Dane Jens Eriksen.


On day 1, my pick for best dressed were the Polish men in their black T-shirts with red and white incandescent light sabre fencing slashes going across the torso.

Day 2, there was the sleeveless men’s brigade. It is a tie between the Korean men who were almost all black, and the Indonesian’s outfits were predominently white. Black contrasts nicely against pale skin and white looks best against tanned skin.

Girls in badminton really do look like girls nowadays as their clothes are cut to hug and contour appropriately (and distinctly from men’s clothes).

Korea’s women’s singles hopes Sung Ji Hyun and Bae Youn Joo (pictured right) as well as Denmark’s dynamite duo of Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, could have second careers in the wings. They would make Singapore Airlines proud with their hair tied into standard issue “Singapore Girl” neat buns.  All four ladies at this stage of the tournament continue flying high and not a hair out of place under pressure.


Did they get a group discount? On day 2, the USA, Poland, India and one member of the Nigerian team all donned  anti-pasto capsicum coloured tops.

They should rethink that colour not simply for the sake of being distinctive but also because that shade of vermillion only looks flattering on Tandoori chicken.


China have traditionally worn red and yellow. Totally red is fine, and red with yellow works, but totally yellow is questionable. In one of her movies, actress Joan Chen’s character admonishes her daughter, who has chosen a yellow blouse, insisting that Chinese women must not wear yellow, lest they be labeled “expired” (huang2 lian3 po2).

The simple truth is that yellow just washes out on any but dark skin tones. The German men (pictured right) demonstrated how to wear yellow successfully, which is in moderation. Their shirts featured black and yellow vertical stripes.


The take-home message is a happy compromise somewhere in between what the big brand marketing departments want us to believe – which is that if we dress like Lee Chong Wei we will play like him too – and what Armani espouses. That what matters is merely that you are comfortable.

At the Li Ning booth, there are shorts on sale for 149 Ringgit and another stack for 59 Ringgit. Both of exceptional quality. The attendant explained the difference is that the expensive one is the one the men’s team are currently wearing. So if you are comfortable paying 3 times the price to look like Bao Chunlai or Chen Jin, that is fine. Either way, Armani’s philosophy is intact.

A universal piece of advice: check in the mirror before leaving the house, or call a friend. I’m thinking of Xia Xuanze, the singles coach for China and former World Champion, when I say this. He is comfortable walking out the door from top to toe in striking lemon yellow.

It is perhaps wiser to break up the colour scheme up with black pants.  Just look over to your elder statesman Tian Bingyi. He is not auditioning for the children’s tv program Bananas in Pyjamas. Then again, pyjamas are anyone’s most comfortable clothes and I agree that few jobs allow you the luxury of going to work in them.


The current tailored look of badminton clothes is a step forward for badminton’s popularity.  While 2010 badminton fashions are on technicolour display within the Putra stadium, one can easily hark back to 1992, as just inside the main entrance, a big LCD TV  played footage of that year – when Malaysia last won the TUC – and every player was, without exception, wearing tight white short shorts.

Choosing one’s badminton outfit is more intentional than it has ever been.  But just because the clothes fit perfectly, stop and ask yourself honestly, did you really want to resemble a giant banana or a piece of Tandoori chicken?

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @ badzine.net